BROOMFIELD - It had all the makings of a storybook ending for the underdog. The chances, the hero and the momentum were all on Lewis-Palmer's side midway through the second half.
But there was a twist.
For a moment, Rangers senior Stacie Loidolt, who played in her first game of the season after leg surgery, played the role of hero when she scored on her first shot of the season in the 61st minute. But the No. 2 Eagles responded on a controversial goal in the 63rd minute and added another in 68th minute to close the book on No. 10 Lewis-Palmer's season with a 3-1 win in the 4A quarterfinals Wednesday.
"I am so proud of these girls," Rangers coach Joe Martin said. "Everything they did and overcame was absolutely amazing. (Broomfield) though, showed everything you want to see in a champion in this game."
It certainly knew how to respond quickly. Loidolt was able to enjoy the moment for less than two minutes before Broomfield rushed the net and created a mess of upright and fallen bodies in the box. L-P keeper Haley Arsenault somehow got her hands on the first two chances in the scrum, but Hailey Mazzola finished off the third chance to put the Eagles up 2-1 with 16:20 remaining.
Lewis-Palmer (11-4-3) pleaded that Arsenault had secured the ball before it was knocked loose, and thus, play should have been stopped. The call, however, stood, and the ruling was that Arsenault bobbled the ball and dropped it, making it a 50-50 chance in front of the net.
"I yelled at the ref after and was like, 'Come on, she had her hands all over it," said Loidolt, who was coming off surgery on her talus bone in February. "But they didn't listen. They saw something different than I did."
It was the only questionable thing surrounding Arsenault and her seven saves Wednesday. The sophomore kept the Rangers within range of Broomfield (15-1-1) and its high-octane offense, finally allowing the first goal in the 38th minute after stopping the previous four scoring chances.
After a one-sided first half, however, Lewis-Palmer was in control to start the second and the chances kept coming.
Freshman Brianna Alger missed a chance off a corner kick in the 45th minute, and then hit the left post in the 53rd minute on a breakaway attempt before Loidolt took her turn. The senior controlled the ball left of the box and lofted an arching shot to the top right corner of the net to tie the game with 18:12 remaining.
"Honestly it was kind of a shot in the dark," Loidolt said. "I just kicked it and was happy, and surprised, it went in. I was just excited for what it did for our team at that point."
Broomfield, which averages nearly five goals, will face Sand Creek in the 4A semifinals at 1:30 p.m. at Sports Authority Stadium on Saturday.
"Sand Creek will be a very tough team to face," Eagles coach Jim Davidson said. "They have a very talented midfielder (Christina Tafoya) and play very well in all facets of the game."